If you’d have told be before yesterday’s game that Georgia would hold Kentucky to 165 yards on offense, force four turnovers and play an essentially flawless games on special teams, well… I would have told you to punch the Dawgs’ ticket to Atlanta on December 3rd!
Which is how things wound up. And on a weird day, the weirdest thing of all was listening to some in the home crowd boo the offense on the way to a 19-10 win. Lots of Bobo blaming, too. Although I never heard anybody explain what kind of plays they would have called in light of (1) fourth- and fifth-string running backs who couldn’t hold on to the ball; (2) an offensive line that seemed incapable of dealing with run blitzes; (3) a quarterback who struggled with his mechanics all day and (4) receivers who only sporadically were aware of what they were supposed to do when a football was thrown at them.
The playcalling was conservative and ugly. But that’s what happens when you lose half the playbook. Playaction is useless when the opposing defense doesn’t respect the run. And when you’re rushing one guy who looks like a stiff gust of wind could knock him over (and who still ran for 100 yards on the day!) and another guy who fumbled on his first carry – a turnover which led to Kentucky’s only TD of the day – what’s to respect?
Sometimes when you’re calling plays, you take the Hippocratic Oath: first thing, do no harm. As Bobo put it,
“I was thanking God the defense was playing as well as they were, and I really didn’t want to do anything to lose the ballgame, and we still fumbled three times,” Bobo said. “That’s just the hand we were dealt today, and I’m really proud the guys kept fighting. We didn’t play as well as we would like, but we did enough to win.”
How ugly was the offense? The clinching score came on a busted play.
This was the kind of day it was for Georgia: On its only touchdown, a 7-yard catch by Marlon Brown from Aaron Murray, Brown actually messed up.
“It was actually the wrong route,” Brown said. “I don’t want to tell everybody that. But it was the wrong route.”
Murray, who had an uneven day otherwise, stayed patient and found Brown when he got open in the back of the end zone.
So no style points were awarded. Big deal. They’re still on their way to the SECCG. Last time I checked, you can’t win the SEC unless you play in that game. That’s all that matters right now.
Anyway, here are a few things I saw:
- Lost in all the offensive futility and the defensive excellence was that the special teams had by far their best day of the season. Blair Walsh was a perfect 4-4, and if he’s back to being Mr. Reliable, that’s a huge plus. Drew Butler nailed every punt, one of which was downed at the one. Kickoff coverage was gloriously uneventful. Both of Kentucky’s stabs at trick plays were turned aside.
- The main reason I want to watch the replay is to see if the pass interference call that set up Kentucky’s only touchdown looks as awful on the broadcast as it did live. As much of a question as there is about who made contact with whom, that ball sure didn’t look catchable from where I sat.
- Can Todd Grantham make halftime adjustments, or can Todd Grantham make halftime adjustments? I lost count of Kentucky’s three-and-outs to start the second half, but I guarantee you after Georgia’s second third-quarter turnover, Mike Bobo didn’t.
- Aaron Murray, I have one word for you: mechanics. That pick at the goal line was a pass thrown almost flat-footed. It seems like when he loses confidence in his line play, his footwork suffers, even when he’s getting enough time to throw.
- Murray and King had almost zero chemistry. It seemed like either Murray couldn’t get King the ball when he was open, or when he did find the receiver, King couldn’t make the play.
- The play of the game was Jarvis Jones’ forced fumble that set up Georgia’s only TD on the day. He fought through two UK players’ holds to get to Max Smith in time. Just an incredible effort to watch unfold.
- Jones should feel flattered. UK’s first-half strategy on offense was to look for Jones and run everything away from or over him.
- It almost got to be a surprise when Kentucky made a defensive stop and Danny Trevathan’s name wasn’t called.
- Branden Smith had a good game. The interception return was nifty, but the open field tackle he made on that fourth-quarter screen pass was even better.
- It sure is fun watching Alec Ogletree turn into a monster.
- Oh, and so much for the “Quintavius Harrow was only signed to get Isaiah Crowell” meme. Who had the better day yesterday?
- Best victory formation of the season.